Emerson burst onto the American intellectual scene by more
or less inventing that American intellectual scene.
Emerson collected around him a group of like-minded intellectuals who
played out, in their own careers, this same search for American
His first publication, Nature, calls for a distinctly American way of
looking at the enduring questions of human existence.
You might expect from the title “Nature” that Emerson is writing
about sunsets and butterflies, but you get a better idea when you see
that, right away, Emerson divides the universe into The Soul and
everything else, and labels the everything else part “Nature.”
For Emerson, creation was the visible mind of God, and its purpose – the
purpose of Nature – is to reveal to us truths about our souls.